Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stopped in the tracks

Stopped in the tracks
ASI may stop doubling of tracks on the Mysore-Bangalore route as they are being laid close to ancient monuments

Work on doubling of tracks taken up by the South Western Railway on the Mysore-Bangalore train route may not go on for long. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has issued a notice to the South Western Railway asking them to stop construction of tracks behind the famed Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangapatna near Mysore.
Dr R Gopal, Director, Directorate of Archaeology and Museums said, “According to the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act 2010, no civil or construction work can happen within 100 metres of an ancient monument. We want to have restrictions upto 200 metres that no construction work is not taken up within these limits.”
Among the 218 temples, Sri Ranganathaswamy temple is one of the most important vaishnavite sites in South India. “The temple dates back to ninth and tenth century and was built by Gangas,” he said.
The ASI had drafted this act in 1992 but it was implemented only in April this year. “Most of the projects across the country have got approval from ASI. But this project has not been approved because of this particular violation. It is a cognisable offence that can attract a fine of Rs. 1 lakh and a jail term of two years,” he explained.
Currently, the track falls between 70 to 80 metres from the monument and the second track would be still closer once it is laid. ASI officials said, “We have sent notices to South Western Railways officials but they have not responded yet.”
Meanwhile, South Western Railways officials have sent a request to ASI officials to reconsider the project as it is a heavy traffic area. Vijay Kumar, Chief Administrative Officer, South Western Railways, Bangalore Division said, “This is an important project as the traffic from Bangalore to Mysore is very high. If this project is stopped, people will be inconvenienced.”


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